UFC 288: 5 Questions & Answers

The next UFC PPV hits our screens and is coming to us live this Saturday from Newark, New Jersey, USA in the Prudential Centre.“Triple C” Henry Cejudo looks to regain his Bantamweight title in the main event after a three-year layoff against current Bantamweight king the “Funkmaster” Aljamain Sterling.

Beyond that, we have two men that stepped up on two weeks notice Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns being the two men looking to put themselves next in line for the welterweight title. We also have a matchup between Jessica Andrade and Xiaonan Yan which should leave the winner in a strong position in a wide-open women’s strawweight division. 

Featherweights will be opening the main card, Diego Lopes stepping up on short notice to replace the injured Bryce Mitchell in a bout against surging prospect the undefeated Movsar Evloev. It will also be infesting to see what Kron Gracie has to offer after four years out of the octagon. One prelim fight I wanted to mention is the final prelim bout, which promises to be an all-action brawl between Drew Dober and Matt Frevola.

What would a win mean for Cejudo’s legacy?

Henry Cejudo is a man with a combat sports resume that stacks up against just about anyone to have ever graced the octagon, especially when you take into consideration his gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China where he become the youngest person ever to win a gold for the USA in wrestling at the age of 21. He then transitioned to MMA and won world titles in the flyweight and bantamweight divisions of the UFC, hence the nickname “Triple C”. I believe a win for Cejudo this Saturday will solidify him as one of the very best of this generation, coming back after three years to recapture his gold would be true greatness, something that isn’t new to this man.

What would a win mean for Sterling’s legacy?

The same question but instead for the defending champion, who is looking to make the third defence of his bantamweight crown. Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling has already achieved more than most dream of and is currently riding an eight-fight win streak. I believe that unfairly, Aljo doesn’t get the love he deserves and that with a victory against someone as respected and accomplished as Henry Cejudo, he should get his long-overdue respect. He has wins over the likes of Pedro Munhoz, Cory Sandhagen, Petr Yan and T.J Dillashaw just to name a few, I believe a win here only helps further Sterling’s legacy as one of the best fighters this division has ever seen.

Could the winner of the co main event be next in line for Leon Edwards?

A tough one here, as Dana White confirmed at the press conference on Thursday that Colby Covington was still next in line and that the winner of Gilbert and Belal would face the winner of the Colby Leon bout for the Welterweight strap. I’ve seen plans change in a week if not a matter of days’ notice countless times in the UFC, with this fight being the perfect example, both men agreeing to the fight two weeks ago. Therefore I believe an impressive win for either man in this brilliant co-main event could well propel them passed Colby and next in line for a title shot. Especially when you consider that Leon doesn’t appear to playing ball on a potential Colby title shot as he doesn’t believe he’s earned it, nobody could say the same for the winner of this one.

Who could potentially steal the show/My pick for fight of the night?

I’ve decided to put my fourth and fifth questions into one, as conveniently for me both answers are the same. As I briefly mentioned at the beginning of this piece a fight I wanted to give some love was the prelim headliner, a lightweight bout between the always game, granite chin Drew Dober and contender series alumni Matt Frevola who’s riding a two-fight win streak both via stoppage. Drew Dober is currently riding a three-fight win streak himself also all by way of stoppage. Two fan favourites for their fighting styles stepping into the octagon, this promises to be an all-action affair for as long as it lasts. For these reasons, I’ve mentioned I believe they could potentially steal the show with a fight of the night performance.

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